Take our user survey here!
Photo:
Explore

Clothes Thrifting in Japan: How To Get Started

A starter on how and where to thrift for clothes in Japan.

By 4 min read

The secondhand market in Japan is one of the best-kept secrets. ​​Used clothes in Japan have a reputation for their pristine condition. Moreover, thrift stores have strict standards for the items they are willing to accept and resell, while buyers maintain high expectations for the quality of secondhand item purchases.

Thrifting reduces the need for frequent replacements, saving money and avoiding environmental waste. This article will run through the basics you need to navigate the secondhand clothing market in Japan and make the most of your thrifting adventure.

Navigating Products 

Photo:
Clothes will usually be sections by color or style.

Regional and local stores outside of large urban cities are often categorized by item: shoes, shirts, jeans, hats, bags, etc., for easy searchability. Products are then split up depending on whether they are branded or off-brand. Off-brand items will offer a larger selection divided by the kind of clothing: jackets, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts, etc.

Within each section, clothes are sorted by color or pattern, making it easier to find a specific product if you have one in mind. Then by sizes. Men’s and women’s clothes will also be separated. Changing rooms are available for trying on items, though usually, the number of items you can try on is limited, and shoes must often be removed before entering the changing room.

Ranking & Pricing

Photo:
A thrift store in Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district.

Ranking is commonly used for online thrift platforms or at local thrift stores in regions outside of Japan’s large cities. Products can be given a rank depending on their condition to help buyers get a better indication of the quality and wear and tear of a secondhand item. Items are ranked as below:

  • S: Nearly new, possibly in original packaging.
  • A: Excellent condition
  • B: Lightly used with no marks.
  • C: Some wear, possible scratches, and dirt.
  • D: Visible defects but still functional.

Secondhand products are priced depending on their condition, with newer items closer in price to retail prices. A good time to look for sales is at the end of every season or during transitional periods. Bargaining is not a regular occurrence in stores, though requesting a reduction in price for an online item may be available depending on the website.

Popular Thrift Neighborhoods

Photo:
Shimokitazawa is well-known for its abundant thrift shops.

From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the historic alleys of Kyoto, each region brings its own flavor to the thrift shopping experience. Here are some of the best thrifting locales in Japan’s major cities

Tokyo

  • Shimokitazawa: Known as Tokyo’s bohemian hub, it’s filled with vintage shops that cater to all styles.
  • Ura-Harajuku: A trendsetting area, a mix of high-end boutiques and fashionable thrift stores.
  • Koenji: Often dubbed the “hipster” district, it’s a treasure trove for unique finds and vintage apparel.
  • Kawagoe: With a blend of history and modernity, thrift stores here offer antiques and retro pieces.
  • Fujimino: A mix of local and foreign goods makes it a thrifting paradise.

Osaka

  • Amerikamura: A vibrant district known for its indie fashion and thrift shops that attract young shoppers.
  • Namba: As a bustling entertainment district, its thrift shops often feature quirky and fun items.

Kyoto

  • Teramachi Street: This historic street mixes old and new, with thrift stores between traditional shops.
  • Shinkyogoku Shopping Street: Popular among tourists and locals, it offers a range of budget-friendly second-hand items.

Nagoya

  • Osu: A shopping district with a rich history, it’s home to numerous thrift shops with contemporary and vintage offerings.
  • Sakae: Nagoya’s shopping and entertainment heart houses numerous thrift stores appealing to fashion-conscious shoppers.

Popular Thrift Stores

Common thrift stores you will find in a Japanese neighborhood include:

“Off” Brands 

One of the largest secondhand chain stores in Japan, offering products ranging from electronics to books. Mode-Off is the chain to go to for clothing, accessories and shoes.

Ragtag 

Specializes in used designer clothing. Stores are mainly located in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka, featuring popular brands such as Comme Des Garcons, Chanel, Supreme, The North Face and Patagonia.

2nd Street

Offers a large range of secondhand clothing, accessories, and shoes, with products ranging from luxury branded items to off-brand clothing for as little as ¥500. There are over 800 stores across Japan, making it one of the most accessible thrift stores in the country.

Komehyo 

With over thirty stores across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Komehyo offers a range of branded clothing, accessories, bags, and jewelry, often kept in pristine condition.

Online Thrifting

For a more relaxed approach to thrifting, without any limits on accessing secondhand options, check out these websites to find your next bargain: Mercari, ZozoUsed, Rakuma and PayPayFurima.

The secondhand market options are endless in Japan, with plenty of unique items and hidden gems. Share your thrifting tips and tricks, or tell us about your thrifting experience in Japan below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA - Privacy Policy - Terms of Service

Related

Live

Is June the Worst Month in Japan?

What month is filled with rain, high humidity and plenty of bloodsuckers? Welcome to June in Japan.

By 5 min read

Learn

Making Reservations in Japanese

Failsafe ways to book accommodations, tickets and dinners out in Japan.

By 5 min read

Live

A Guide to Volunteering in Japan

Are you looking to offer your services to a volunteer organization in Japan? Check out the foreigner-friendly opportunities below!

By 5 min read